New England in brief

Columnist's DUI case is continued

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March 25, 2008

Globe columnist Adrian Walker, who was arrested March 2 for operating under the influence, will have the charge dismissed in a year if he completes an alcohol education course and stays out of legal trouble, his lawyer and the Suffolk district attorney's office say. The agreement was reached yesterday in Dorchester Municipal Court, where Walker admitted to sufficient facts for a finding of guilty and Judge Lawrence E. McCormick agreed to continue the charge without a finding. Walker's license was suspended for 45 days. Walker's lawyer, Michael P. Doolin, and Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney, both described the outcome as standard for cases in which offenders take responsibility for their actions. Walker was arrested by Transit Police in Dorchester while driving a company vehicle.

Patrick signs on to effort against hunger
Governor Deval Patrick says he wants to commit the state to ending hunger. The governor told a kickoff breakfast for the 40th annual Walk for Hunger yesterday that he will convene a summit Thursday to try to align state resources toward hunger issues. Over 600,000 people in Massachusetts are living below the federal poverty line, and nearly one-third of them are children. Amid rising costs for fuel, food, and housing, many middle-class families are a month away from financial distress, Patrick said. The 20-mile walk is set for May 4, the first Sunday of the month. It has raised $66.1 million since its inception in 1969. (AP)

One-month reprieve for Wharton estate
The organization that owns author Edith Wharton's Lenox estate, The Mount, says it has received a one-month extension to raise the $3 million it needs to avoid foreclosure. Stephanie Copeland, president of Edith Wharton Restoration, said yesterday that her group has raised $550,000 from donors around the world, including $30,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities, in its emergency campaign. It has been given until April 24 to avoid foreclosure by the Berkshire Bank in Pittsfield. An anonymous donor has pledged to match the $3 million to allow the group to restructure its debt. Wharton designed and built the house in 1902. She finished her breakthrough novel, "The House of Mirth" there and got the inspiration for "Ethan Frome." The estate gets 30,000 visitors a year. (AP)

Ex-Hub man accused in ID theft cases
Federal agents say a former US Air Force airman from Boston is the identity theft suspect they have been calling John Doe for months. Special Agent Joseph Velling confirmed yesterday that a man arrested two weeks ago in Seattle is Scott Andrew Shain, 52. Shain's parents recognized him after being contacted by the FBI, which had posted photographs of him on its website. They told Velling they had lost contact with their son after he didn't make it through Air Force flight school in the early 1980s. Shain is being held at a federal detention center south of Seattle on multiple charges of Social Security fraud, mail fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Investigators believe he adopted the identities of at least five dead people and was working up two other false identities from dead men in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, Canada. (AP)

Officer wins judgment in harassment suit
A former Springfield police officer whose photograph was superimposed over a woman in a bikini has been awarded a judgment of $400,000 in a sexual harassment lawsuit. John Brock said that image and other doctored pictures featuring his likeness were posted at police headquarters, creating a hostile work environment. Brock testified that he repeatedly complained to supervisors, but that nothing was done until he filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination in 2004. He said the doctored pictures made him worry that he was considered an outcast and would not get police backup when he was in dangerous situations. A Hampden Superior Court jury awarded Brock a judgment for punitive damages yesterday. A lawyer for the city said it may appeal. (AP)

Soldier succumbs to wounds in Iraq
A 22-year-old soldier from Bethel has died of wounds suffered in Iraq. The Defense Department announced yesterday that Private Tyler Smith succumbed Friday to wounds received when his forward base near Baghdad received indirect fire. The Army did not elaborate. Smith was a combat engineer assigned to a unit of the Third Infantry Division. (AP)

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